Coronavirus crisis exacerbated teacher shortage, school leaders say
The coronavirus crisis exacerbated the teacher shortage that has been plaguing the Netherlands for years, according to the general association for school leaders AVS. Fewer teachers are available due to quarantines and long waiting times to get their Covid-19 test results, and school leaders are having real trouble finding temps to replace them, the AVS found in a poll of 600 school leaders.
The poll showed that 83 percent of school leaders are concerned about having enough staff. 8 percent could not fill all their vacancies for the new school year. "In addition to the normal staff shortage in the school, there are now no teachers in the risk groups, with mild symptoms or actual contamination and it is very difficult for school leaders to find a replacement," AVS chairman Petra van Haren said in a statement.
The government's advice is to get tested for Covid-19 if you show any symptoms. This includes things like fever, shortness of breath, coughing, and a runny nose. People have to self-isolate at home until they get the results of their tests. As the symptoms for Covid-19 are similar to cold or flu, the need for tests and home isolation is expected to increase as winter approaches.
According to the AVS poll, 4 percent of teachers who got tested for Covid-19 got their results within 24 hours. 69 percent waited for between 24 and 48 hours, and 13 percent waited 48 to 72 hours. A number of teachers are also currently in quarantine because they returned from holiday in a coronavirus hotspot.
The PO-Raad, the council of primary schools in the Netherlands, confirmed the AVS's concerns to NU.nl. The PO-Raad, along with the teacher unions and the VO-Raad for secondary schools, already called on the government to also give teachers priority in Covid-19 testing, so that they can get their results and hopefully get back to work as quickly as possible.